OECD Guidelines: Banks must publish climate targets in line with Paris Climate Agreement

Published 25 April 2019; original press release 19 April 2019

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises demand that ING Bank sets concrete climate goals for its financial services that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. This is the final statement of the Dutch National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines following a complaint lodged against ING in May 2017 by Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace NL, BankTrack and Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie).

Peter Ras, senior policy advisor at Oxfam Novib: “We are happy about this well-considered decision by the National Contact Point making it clear that banks – in order to adhere to the OECD Guidelines – must draw up concrete climate goals for their financial services that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. This means that banks in the Netherlands and abroad will have to work hard on this. It’s also very good to see that the OECD Contact Point takes a clear position on climate goals for the first time.”

The four organisations that lodged this complaint are pleased that ING has now agreed to bring its portfolio in line with the Paris Agreement and that ING is prepared to publish interim goals. The NGOs urge ING to bring its lending portfolio in line with a maximum temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius as soon as possible. Remaining below 1.5 degrees of global warming makes all the difference to many inhabitants of island nations and deltas such as Bangladesh. To them, it is literally the difference between being able to continue to live in their homes or having to flee due to rising sea levels, according to the four NGOs.

Kees Kodde, campaigner at Greenpeace: “It is crucial that ING publishes its interim goals as soon as possible. The financial sector justifies loans to fossil fuel companies with IEA scenarios that are overly reliant on unproven technologies such as carbon capture and storage. A better approach would be to completely phase out all financing of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. In this respect, ING is setting the right example with coal.”

Johan Frijns, director at BankTrack: “We appreciate the fact that ING is prepared to finance the much-needed technology transition for a range of sectors with the largest impact on our climate. However, this approach does not offer a solution for the oil and gas industry, currently the main drivers of climate change, together with coal. ING must completely phase out its investments in oil and gas which were worth 25.5 billion dollars between 2015 and 2018.”[1]

In May 2017, Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace, BankTrack and Friends of the Earth NL lodged a complaint against ING at the National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines. They did so because they were concerned about the fact that ING did not adhere to the OECD Guidelines. In November 2017 the formal climate complaint against ING was declared admissible by the National Contact Point of OECD. It was the first time that a climate-related complaint was declared admissible by an OECD Contact Point.

After this complaint was lodged, ING published its decision in December 2017 to almost completely phase out their investments in the coal industry by the year 2025. ING also stated that it would refrain from investing in new coal-fired power stations. In September 2018, ING publicly announced that it will begin steering its lending portfolio towards meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius. In its statement, the National Contact Point does not establish whether or not the ING violated the OECD Guidelines in 2017.

ING, Banktrack, Greenpeace, Milieudefensie and Oxfam Novib call directly upon the Dutch government to request the International Energy Agency to develop as soon as possible two scenarios, one with and one without carbon capture and storage, that provide a 66% chance to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will allow banks and other financial institutions to adjust their loans and investments accordingly.

For more information please contact:
Jules van Os, press officer at Oxfam Novib, 06 – 51 57 36 83, jules.van.os@oxfamnovib.nl

Bram Karst, press officer at Greenpeace Nederland, 06 – 21 29 68 95, persvoorlichting@greenpeace.nl

A link to the Final Statement by NCP:
https://www.oecdguidelines.nl/latest/news/2019/04/19/final-statement-dutch-ncp-specific-instance-4-ngos-versus-ing-bank

For more information about the complaint, read here

Picture credit: Foto Marco De Swart/ANP out of Dutch article in NRC.nl

A Blog Looking Back at the Cooperation of The Crowd and the Bees

25 March 2019

By Andrea Carta, Greenpeace EU Senior Legal Strategist

My collaboration with “The Crowd Versus” began in September 2016. At that time, I was providing EU law expertise to Greenpeace International, who had intervened in a case that Bayer and Syngenta had started against the EU Commission: the two agrochemical companies were trying to annul a regulation that prohibited the use of three active substances for pesticides (neonicotinoids), which the Commission found to be harmful for bees. 

Together with other NGOs engaging in the protection of bees and pollinators (Bee-Life.eu, Bugslife.org, and Pesticides Action Network-Europe), we decided to intervene in the proceedings in support of the Commission’s ban.

The Crowd Versus made their platform available for a fundraising campaign, to help us pay the costs of the court intervention and to provide communication opportunities around the case. 

Getting the fundraising campaign started was a relatively easy process. The Crowd Versus uses a simple and transparent standard agreement and it provides the parties with all the basic information to develop the crowdfunding page. At the design stage, requests for input on Greenpeace’s side were minimal, and limited to a short description of the legal case and to some pictures. 

The Crowd Versus produced a dedicated webpage and a video. It also took care of the launch of the crowdfunding via social media like Facebook and Twitter. Communication was regular and all the adjustments that proved necessary (text, timeline and target) were made practically in real time. 

On 29 September 2016 we were online and the campaign ended on 15 February 2017 with € 1.680 and 85 individual donors, most of which from the Netherlands, where The Crowd Versus is based.

Considering that we were practically running a pilot, and that The Crowd Versus was mainly counting on its own audience, I think the result of this short campaign was encouraging, even if it did not reach the target that we had initially set. 

What could have we done differently to achieve the target?

Based on my experience with the bees’ case, I think that, beyond a thorough preparation, communication is the factor that can determine the success of a crowdfunding campaign. Here are my two advices:

Communicate frequently and widely around the case

This should be easier for grassroots organisations, whose main focus is on one legal cases (or a small number of them), than for large organisations like Greenpeace, who have many campaigns and initiatives running at the same time. 

Find a way to make (administrative) law appealing

Administrative law is already boring for law students. Don’t expect it to be entertaining for the public unless you put some serious work on it!

Beyond a doubt, our case was important from both the legal and the environmental perspective. However, mobilising supporters was very difficult, given that cases before the EU Court of Justice are very slow, very technical and very quiet. 

With a well-designed and planned communication strategy, a crowdfunding campaign can bring, in addition to the monies that are necessary to run a legal case, a valuable opportunity to mobilise around it and turn a lawsuit into a real campaign.

BIO

Andrea Carta works as Senior Legal Strategist for the European Unit of Greenpeace, where he advices on a broad range of EU environmental law issues, including pesticides, GMOs, energy, access to justice, illegal timber imports and trade policy.

This is Why Our Future Lies in the Hands of Those Protecting the Amazon

This is Why Our Future Lies in the Hands of Those Protecting the Amazon

The Amazon rainforest is the most important forest in the world and crucial to limit global warming. Protecting the forest should be a top priority of world leaders, companies and citizens. Sadly everyday a part is being destroyed, directly affecting the lives of the indigenous and local communities. Hivos and Greenpeace support indigenous and local communities in their battle against the destruction of their territory.

30 November 2018

Deforestation by new president

André Karipuna, the leader of one of the Indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon, reported about the dramatic situation at a UN meeting in Geneva. His people are afraid of their lives because of (illegal) deforestation. Their territory is demarcated and protected by Brazilian law, but after the election of the new president Jair Bolsonaro, their future is at stake. During his election campaign, Jair Bolsonaro promised that his government will stop demarcating new indigenous lands and revise the existing ones.

Weaken surveillance on environmental crimes

The new president also declared that he would weaken surveillance on environmental crimes, loosen up environmental licensing rules, and allow the use of weapons by rural landowners. This policy could have huge effects on the environment and the safety of people, like André Karipuna, trying to protect it.

Limit global warming

Not only local communities are dependent on the new Brazilian government to protect the forest, but we all are. Only then we can limit global warming. Brazil holds the key to our future. Turning a blind eye for illegal deforestation, land grabbing, human rights abuse and the continuous destruction of the Amazon can be the end of our planet’s ecosystem.

Support from Hivos and Greenpeace

André Karipuna’s community, and others Indigenous and local communities get support from the All Eyes on the Amazon program. Hivos and Greenpeace run this program, together with a coalition of organizations working in the same field. They call upon companies and governments to protect the Amazon no matter who the future president is.

Source and Photo Hivos: All Eyes on the Amazon: the future of protecting forests in Brazil